Thailyn entered the healing wing of the college and was met by Thorgrey.
“I assumed Caltan would be testing me,” Thailyn said.
“He’ll be there. But for someone to get his license without any classes needs special consideration from the college head. Come, we have everything set up.” He led the way to the testing room.
“I don’t think the test has changed much since the last time you took it. It’s simple. There’s a list of potions and the ingredients you need to make them. There’s parchment, pens, and ink if you need them. Make all the potions. There’s no time limit so take as much time as you need. No errors are allowed. Do you need help with infusions because of your heart?”
“No. That doesn’t give me problems.”
“Good luck then.” Thorgrey left.
Thailyn looked around. He remembered the test a little. Thorgrey, Caltan, and others were watching behind a darkened window. He could feel Ann’s shield on the room, so she was also there. He imagined his dad was too. There was no reason he would be. He wasn’t a healer and they didn’t need his magic with Ann there. But Mishtali had always been his biggest critic, holding him to impossible standards. Thailyn did his best work if he thought Mishtali might be watching.
He approached the table. There was a stool, but the table was tall enough to work standing up and he preferred to do so while making potions.
He looked over the list and the ingredients. The recipes were included. Memorizing the recipes was discouraged though most potion makers memorized the common ones. He cast a spell shield and started.
The first two were straightforward forward and Thailyn made them without difficulty. The third seemed to be also, but then he noticed some of the ingredients were wrong. You didn’t have to memorize recipes, but you needed to know when ingredients would interact badly. He looked at what he had, made corrections, and continued to make the potion.
The fourth potion was to test his ability to infuse the potion with healing magic. For him, that was easier than not doing it.
The fifth was a more complicated recipe. When he took the test five hundred years ago there was an “advanced” potion to allow a potion maker to make an extra few highly complicated potions. Thailyn wondered if this was that recipe.
As he measured out the ingredients, he noticed some had gone bad. If someone took a potion made with them, they’d be killed. This was just a test. No one would take these, but Thailyn couldn’t bring himself to make it. He looked through what was supplied. He didn’t see any that were usable.
He sighed. Thorgrey said to make them all. He needed his license. He wasn’t going to fail because they gave him bad ingredients. He pulled up the stool and sat, looking over the recipe. He had no idea what the potion was. He analyzed it, making notes. Then, based on what it seemed to do and what the bad ingredients would be needed for, he rewrote the potion using ingredients he had with similar properties. Then he mixed that potion too.
He set it on the assigned spot to indicate it was finished. “I’m done,” he called out.
Thorgrey entered followed by Ann, Andy, Shunati, and Caltan.
“I’m sorry, Thailyn, but you failed,” Thorgrey said, frowning.
“What? You didn’t even check my work,” Thailyn protested.
“Two of the potions weren’t supposed to be made,” Thorgrey explained.
“You said to make them all.”
Thorgrey nodded. “I did, but…
“Um, Master Thorgrey?” Andy interrupted as he looked over Thailyn’s notes. “He corrected the third potion. It was made correctly, based on his notes, at least.”
Shunati examined the potion itself and passed it to Caltan. “He made it correctly too.” Caltan nodded in agreement.
Thorgrey frowned. “He did? What about the last one?”
Caltan was looking over the notes with Andy reading over his shoulder. They whispered for a moment. “It looks like the substitutions he made would work,” Caltan announced. “Shunati?”
Shunati examined the potion. “It’s safe. What was it supposed to do again?”
“It was an obscurity potion similar to what’s on my cloak,” Ann explained.
“Where did you find that?” Thailyn asked.
“The immortal texts Morina gave me,” Ann told him.
“An immortal potion? Is that why you were shielding the room?” Thailyn guessed.
Ann nodded. “But it was just a precaution. Morina said it’s safe for the regular shields. We were worried about the substitutes. The college is reviewing the rest of the potions to see which ones to make public.”
“This looks good,” Shunati announced. He passed it to Caltan to double-check. The elf agreed.
“I told you we couldn’t use green bough root for this,” Ann said. “He practically lives on the stuff.”
“Well, four of the five potions were made correctly and the fifth was made using acceptable substitutions. And Thailyn has shown he won’t knowingly make potions of questionable safety,” Thorgrey announced. “The requirements of the test have not only been met but exceeded. Congratulations, Thailyn. You passed.” Thorgrey smiled.
Thailyn did too as he relaxed. The idea that he might not pass was beyond him.
“Can I request taking the advanced test? I’d like to be able to make red so Andy doesn’t have to do it all the time,” he asked.
Shunati laughed. “I think you passed the advanced test already.”
“This is the advanced certificate,” Ann said.
“When I saw the last potion, I thought it was the advanced test,” Caltan explained. “I didn’t realize that was one he wasn’t expected to make. I think he should have it.”
“I agree,” Thorgrey said. “We’ll have the certificate written up and you can pick it up tomorrow to take to the magistrate’s office for your license.”
“I have scribe privileges,” Ann said. “I can do the certificate now. I just need a witness since he’s my dad. The magistrate’s office is closed now, so you’ll have to wait until morning for your license. If you need to buy anything, you can show the shopkeeper this.” She passed the certificate to Caltan for his signature.
“Good,” Shunati said. “Now I have two potion makers I can go to.”
“Why don’t you have a license?” Thailyn asked.
Shunati grinned bashfully. “Do you see those scorch marks?” He pointed.
“That was you?”
“Those were from the third time I took the test.”
“Fourth,” Thorgrey corrected him.
“The Fourth. Anyway, after that, they said no more testing.”
“Probably for the best,” Thailyn agreed. With the strength of the shields on the room, a sensitive like Shunati could have difficulty focusing. “Mixing potions isn’t for everyone.”
Ann laughed. “Says the man who just rewrote the test.” They wouldn’t even let her take the test.
Thailyn shrugged. “If you do something long enough, you learn a little.”
“Why isn’t he teaching here?” Thorgrey asked Caltan.
The elf shrugged. “He doesn’t want to. I have asked.”
Thorgrey glanced at Ann. “Princess, any chance you can get him to do it?”
Ann laughed. “You want me to tell my dad what to do?”
“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Thorgrey muttered.
“It won’t help,” Thailyn said with a chuckle. “When I get to the point I can’t heal anymore, I’ll teach.”
“The day you stop healing will be the day you stop breathing,” Shunati claimed.
“He’s agreed to lecture at the next healer’s conference, and one guest lecture a year for classes,” Caltan said.
Thorgrey sighed. “It’s just that he could fill a book with what he knows.”
“Try two or three,” Shunati said.
Thorgrey raised an eyebrow.
“Pt’this and I are working on that in our free time,” Thailyn explained.
“Pt’this has free time?” Thorgrey asked.
“Not much. It’s taking a while.”
“You might hire him officially. Then the council wouldn’t give him other scribe work,” Ann suggested.
“The college might finance it,” Caltan offered. “I’ll talk with the head.” He glanced at Thorgrey.
“I’ll think about it,” Thorgrey agreed. The look in his eyes told Thailyn it was likely. He might even talk Bacna into more funding if he couldn’t fit it into the current budget.
“Thanks. I should go before Ruzi starts making supper. We don’t need any more scorch marks in our kitchen,” Thailyn said and left.
“Is that you, Dad?” Ruzi called when he heard the door open.
“No, it’s Lamdi,” Thailyn called back.
“Lamdi, your voice is a little deep. You might want to have my dad check your throat.” Ruzi smiled. “You might not want to get close yet.”
Thailyn let out a growl.
Ruzi’s grin grew. “Dad, I didn’t see you there.”
The boy paused chopping his vegetables and looked up at him. Thailyn wondered how much he did see. His eyes seemed red again.
“Let me check your eyes.”
Ruzi stopped chopping and waited. “I’m okay. My eyes are a little tired from the exercises.”
Thailyn nodded. “Don’t overdo it.”
“I’ll try not to. I was watching Vaila when Ann came to work with me and we got carried away.”
“What are we making?”
“Stew. Andy gave me a new recipe. He said I should be able to make it.” Ruzi continued his chopping.
“Okay. We can try it.”
“Where have you been?”
“Taking a test to get my potions license.”
“Did you pass?”
“Of course I passed.”
“Do you think I could?”
“If you learn to follow a recipe and then enroll in classes.”
“Will I be able to make them when I go blind?”
“Andy’s blind, he does it.”
“Andy has other sights.”
“So do you if you learn to use them. Besides, Andy can do them blindfolded.”
“He can do some. But he can cook.”
“I’m trying.” He gestured to the food he had out.
“I know. You’re already better than Ann.”
Ruzi rolled his eyes. “Vaila is better than Ann.”
Thailyn laughed. It was true. It didn’t matter who worked with her, Ann could not learn to cook.
“But we don’t know you’ll go blind,” Thailyn said.
“Dad, I’m fifteen. When I was ten, you said I’d need healing every few months. It’s every week now. You also said any healer could do it. Last night, Lamdi had to do emergency healing. I know I’m getting worse. You don’t have to hide it.”
Thailyn sighed. “I didn’t want to tell you yet, but there is an option if we can find your parents. But Rejenn has been looking for your dad for five years. It’s not looking good.”
“Maybe my mom can help if they let us talk to her.”
“Ruzi, we’ve been pushing for that for five years too.”
“You looked for your mom for six hundred years. You thought your dad was dead for five hundred.”
“You don’t have five hundred years. We need to do it before you lose your sight.”
“I’m just trying to be positive.”
“I’m not in denial. And I have been practicing and figuring out how I can do things when I can’t see. I can make it to the market, and almost to the palace.”
Ruzi could tell his dad was impressed.
“I’m going to be okay.”
“I know, but I’m your dad. I’m going to worry.”
“Did you worry this much about Ann?”
“Probably more. She gave me more cause to worry. And I couldn’t see her often to know if she was okay.”
“Can I go out with Lamdi in the hammock?”
“You can sit outside with us.”
“Do you have all your assignments done?”
“If she’s done with hers.”
“We worked together.”
“Okay. After dinner.”